Krakow has been a popular city for a city trip for years. And with good reason, because the historic center of Krakow has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. If you walk around here you will quickly understand why. The past is literally still on the street here. This is beautiful Poland.
Remarkable about Krakow is that the city has never actually been destroyed over the centuries. Not even partially. That is why Krakow is still a very beautiful city to visit. The center is compact, making it easy to explore the city on foot. Ideal for your own search for the past of this city.
Also, Krakow is cozy. The reason is simple; it is a student city. And so you will find many bars and restaurants here. In addition, the price level is low, so that you can also eat and drink cheaply. And the food is very tasty. Which makes a weekend trip or midweek to Krakow very worthwhile. In particular, you will find many food and beverage outlets in the Kazimierz district.
Sights in Krakow:
Stare Miasto is the historic center of the city. The oldest building is St. Andrew’s Church; it dates from 1098. You can see many architectural styles mixed up here, in a very stylish manner. With many narrow streets and small shops. Although most of it is built in Renaissance style. This is a wonderful place to explore.
Rynek Główny is one of the largest and most beautiful market squares in Europe. It is exactly 200 by 200 meters and was built in the 13th century. Three streets on each side lead to the square. With various special buildings.
Sukiennice (Cloth Hall)
If you walk on Rynek Główny you will see the Sukiennice automatically. This is Krakow’s cloth hall and served as a center for international trade. Mainly spices were sold here. Including salt extracted from the Wieliczka Salt Mine. And provided great wealth. Silk and leather from the east were also for sale here.
If you walk there now you mainly see souvenirs. At the top of the Sukiennice, you see heads made of stone. Visiting the Sukiennice is special at any time of the day. Especially in the evening because of the many lights.
Saint Mary’s Basilica
Saint Mary’s Basilica is the figurehead of Rynek Główny. And a very popular photo object. Which makes sense because of the gothic red towers. The highest tower is 81 meters, the other 69 meters. Legend has it that the towers were built by two brothers. When the first tower was finished the brother killed the other to stop him from building a higher tower. You can still see the knife in the Sukiennice in Krakow.
The church is world-famous for its sculptural masterpiece. The Altarpiece of the famous Nuremberg sculptor Veit Stoss. It is very impressive.
Wawel Cathedral is one of the most important buildings in the city. It stands on the 228 meter high Wawel hill. Just like the Royal Palace. Various kings have been crowned and buried in the cathedral. The historic center can be found at the foot of the palace. It is also known as the Royal Archcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus.
Wawel Castle towers well above the other buildings. The current buildings date from various times. The Saint-Felix and Adaukt tower is the oldest: from the 10th and 11th centuries. Wawel Castle is located on Wawel Hill in the heart of Krakow. It is now a museum.
Planty is a large city park surrounding the big city. It is a wonderful place to walk around or have a picnic. You will also find parts of the old city wall and the Florian’s Gate here. And the Barbican, the fortified outpost. Which is still in remarkably good condition.
Best Time to Visit Krakow
Krakow is best visited in spring, summer, or autumn. In winter, there can be snow and the temperature could go below zero Celcius degree. Which makes it less attractive to go.
Krakow is a popular city trip. It can therefore be busy at some sights. Remember to book (online) in advance or to buy your tickets online. This way you avoid the queues.